Americans need to understand the Middle East
How much do we really know?

At The Media Line, we value all points of view and aim to mend our differences through fact-based narrative-inclusive journalism Help support our bold and brave team in Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Territories, the UAE, and beyond.
Help us continue our work and provide access to the news that matters to you.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours for this Jewish New Year.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
Stranger than Paradise
A man walks past an overflowing dumpster in east Jerusalem close to Herod’s Gate. (David Lee)

Stranger than Paradise

Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 23

The American film Stranger than Paradise, directed by the famous director Jim Garmusch in 1983, is a simple yet disconcerting story quietly presenting the process of human detachment from nature. The story follows Eva, a Hungarian immigrant, who seeks to leave the rural community in which she grew up and come to the land of opportunity in the United States of America. In one of the opening scenes, Eva, now in the US, sits in front of her cousin who is eating a sandwich and asks him what type of meat it has. “It’s meat, it doesn’t matter which kind… maybe beef,” the young man replies. Annoyed by her question, he continues: “This is the food we eat here in America; every plate must have a piece of meat, French fries and veggies.” He then proceeds to finish his meal and throws the plastic plate away. Although the film is almost four decades old, this scene is extremely telling of the current human predicament regarding the environment. The plastic plate and utensils are a symbol of modernity and the environmental destruction brought about by mankind through uncontrollable dumping and pollution. The lack of awareness regarding the meat one is eating represents the total disconnect between the food we consume and where it comes from. In today’s world, not a single one of us ever stops to reflect upon our food web. In the rare chance that we do think about our relationship with nature, we rarely look beyond the shelves of our local supermarket. It is easy to continue consuming without expense, wasting money and dumping garbage in unfathomable quantities, and destroying our planet. We have lost respect for animals, for the earth and the seas, and for all living things. We forgot the origin of the fruit on our table, the sun that nurtures our plants, and the hands that plant and harvest the food we eat. In following our daily rituals without questioning our habits, we are contributing to the rapid demise of our planet. We are losing accountability to ourselves and to others. We have become creatures who waste without any remorse or guilt. We have come to forget that nature is a complicated web of living and nonliving things that have been inextricably tied to each other, maintaining a delicate balance, for hundreds of thousands of years. It is time we looked beyond our plates. – Raja’a Alem
(translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.